GEOFOR: Dear Mr. Roberts, thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. So, the Russian-American diplomatic marathon, which lasted for a whole week, is over. And as many, including yourself, predicted, the bilateral meeting and negotiations in the format of NATO and the OSCE ended in nothing. The parties simply fixed their positions. However, some Russian analysts believe that the only result of these contacts was that the united West and, first of all, the United States, for the first time in thirty years, still "condescended" or were forced to condescend to talk with Russia on equal terms. What, in your opinion, prompted Washington and its satellites to do this?
Paul Craig Roberts: Russians are always looking for a silver lining, this time that the US condescended to talk with Russia on equal terms. The US did no such thing. Washington used the talks to elevate the propaganda against Russia as, for example, Undersecretary of State Nuland's denunciation of Russia.
The talks did not end in nothing. The talks confirmed the Kremlin's belief that Washington would not accommodate Russia's security concern and that Russia would be forced to look for solutions outside of diplomacy.
GEOFOR: It seems that the world is no longer preparing to enter, but is entering a new geopolitical reality, where Russia has learned to quickly resolve crises in different parts of the world, be it Syria, Belarus or Kazakhstan. What do you think is the reason for such transformations - is it a consequence of Moscow's "muscle building" or the result of a reduction in the capabilities of the United States?
Paul Craig Roberts: It is a consequence of the Kremlin awakening to the fact that Russia's role for Washington is to serve as the necessary enemy for the profits of the US military/security complex and as the threat that guarantees Washington's control over Europe. For too long Russians believed all the nice democratic slogans that Washington expresses but does not believe.
GEOFOR: Although Russia has made its position public well in advance, moreover, it has made available a draft document listing Moscow's demands point by point, as well as the obligations that it is ready to assume, it seems that the United States and its NATO partners have not taken the trouble to familiarize themselves with them. At least, judging by the statements for the press, instead of discussing security issues on the European continent, the American side tried with all its might to reduce the discussion to the issue of Ukraine's accession to the alliance and the deployment of offensive weapons on its territory. What is the reason for this, if we may say so, misunderstanding? Is it the desire to delay negotiations? If so, for what purposes? Or is the problem something else?
Paul Craig Roberts: It most certainly is not a misunderstanding. It was a propaganda opportunity for Washington and its NATO puppets. Russia is the necessary enemy. Therefore, Washington will never acknowledge that Russia has a valid case about anything.
GEOFOR: Speaking of the Ukraine, which was the top priority topic for American negotiators. Do you rule out that Washington is playing out a scenario under which Kiev would decide on a military conflict in the Donbas or Crimea, and Moscow would be forced to respond with the use of force? In this case the United States and its allies, on the one hand, would increase the volume of military assistance (this week the Congress authorized the allocation of an additional $ 500 million), but at the same time they have declared that neither the United States nor NATO would go to war for the Ukraine. For the current Ukrainian leadership, with the country going through a deep economic and political crisis, an armed conflict might be the last chance to retain power and regain the favor of the West. Moreover, regardless of who would unleash the conflict, Russia would immediately be declared an "aggressor".
Paul Craig Roberts: For Washington Ukraine is a tool to be used against Russia. Whether Ukraine becomes a member of NATO and hosts missile bases on Russia's border or whether Ukraine invades Donbass and causes Russian intervention makes little difference to Washington. If the former, then Washington has more ability to intimidate Russia. If the latter, Washington has a result that proves its propaganda and solidifies its hold on Europe and strengthens Americans' belief that Russia is a dangerous threat.
GEOFOR: And now on the background against which the Russian-American discussion took place. Speaking politely, Washington was not shy in their expressions. We are not talking about the press and political pundits, the Lord is their judge. But some officials were not inferior to them. For example, after the talks in Geneva, Victoria Nuland blamed Moscow for fomenting the crisis between Russia and the United States, simultaneously accusing it of lying and misinforming. And after the Brussels meeting, the same lady, who holds the post of Under Secretary of State, said that Washington was working with Germany and the EU to slow down the commissioning of Nord Stream 2. But this did not seem enough for her, so she said that the United States was ready to discuss with Finland and Sweden the issue of their accession to NATO, which, judging by the reaction of Helsinki and Stockholm, caused some consternation in these countries. Why and who needs it? Raising the stakes on the eve of negotiations is a common thing for politicians and diplomats. But why do it when negotiations have already begun? Or is it just a deficit or lack of professionalism and, we are sorry to say, culture and education?
Paul Craig Roberts: Washington cannot make it any clearer that Russia is in the way of US hegemony and that Washington intends to remove the Russian constraint on US hegemony via intimidation and destabilization. It seems that this has finally been realized by the Kremlin if not by the Russian media.
GEOFOR: Currently, the Russian leadership is waiting for a written response from the American side to its proposals, which, as promised, should be provided next week. Meanwhile, in the Senate, the members of the same party as President J. Biden have prepared a draft of new sanctions, including ones against President Vladimir Putin, as well as the Ministers of Defense and Foreign Affairs, major banks, etc. As the Russian Ambassador to the United States Mr. Antonov noted in this regard, if they are adopted, it will mean the rupture of diplomatic relations between our countries. In these circumstances, what could be the response from the White House and the State Department? Is it possible to expect at least something constructive in it, giving a reason to continue the dialogue that has begun?
Paul Craig Roberts: No dialogue has begun. Washington used the talks to make completely clear to Russia that Washington could not care less about Russia's security concern, that Washington wants and intends Russia to be insecure and will be working to make Russia more insecure.
Dr. Paul Craig Roberts – Chairman of the Institute for Political Economy, US economist and ex-assistant secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration.
Serge Duhanov is a journalist, specializing in international relations and national security issues. Не worked as the NOVOSTI Press Agency's own correspondent in Canada (Ottawa, 1990-1992) and the US Bureau Chief (Washington, 1996-2001) of the newspapers Business MN, Delovoy Mir and Interfax-AiF.